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Expat wanderer

Chinese Astrological Calculations

I’ve never really been sure what my Chinese birth year was. For a long time I thought I was one thing, then another long time I thought I was another, and it turns out it is more complicated than I thought. I am between a solar year and a lunar month – or was it a lunar year and a solar month?

Here is my picture:

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I am like a white metal chicken.

Way more complicated than I knew!

If you would like to find out who you are according to Chinese astrology, there is a wonderful website where you enter your birthdate and they can tell you what you are – and who you should be friends with and who you should marry.

You can click on Chinese Fortune Calendar and find out all about yourself.

January 17, 2009 Posted by | Character, Cross Cultural, Experiment | , , | 2 Comments

Year of the Ox Starts 26 January!

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(The US Postal Service has issued a Year of the Ox postal stamp, above)

To our great surprise, there are several very good Chinese restaurants in Kuwait – if you don’t think so, check out the number of Chinese people eating in a place, and eat what they eat. Several Chinese restaurants in Kuwait even have honest-to-God Chinese cooks!

Chinese New Year’s is a great excuse for a party, and wearing your favorite red dress. 🙂 It’s almost here – January 26th.

Chinese New Year
The Year of the Ox
by Holly Hartman

from InfoPlease website on Chinese New Year

4707 (or 2009) is the year of the ox

Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese year 4707 begins on Jan. 26, 2009.

Chinese months are reckoned by the lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest. In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year.

An Obstinate Year
Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal’s year would have some of that animal’s personality. Those born in ox years tend to be painters, engineers, and architects. They are stable, fearless, obstinate, hard-working and friendly. Jack Nicholson, Jane Fonda, Walt Disney, and Anthony Hopkins were all born in the year of the ox.

Fireworks and Family Feasts
At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes, decorate with poems on red paper, and give children “lucky money” in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck. The fireworks that shower the festivities are rooted in a similar ancient custom. Long ago, people in China lit bamboo stalks, believing that the crackling flames would frighten evil spirits.

The Lantern Festival
In China, the New Year is a time of family reunion. Family members gather at each other’s homes for visits and shared meals, most significantly a feast on New Year’s Eve. In the United States, however, many early Chinese immigrants arrived without their families, and found a sense of community through neighborhood associations instead. Today, many Chinese-American neighborhood associations host banquets and other New Year events.
The lantern festival is held on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. Some of the lanterns may be works of art, painted with birds, animals, flowers, zodiac signs, and scenes from legend and history. People hang glowing lanterns in temples, and carry lanterns to an evening parade under the light of the full moon.

In many areas the highlight of the lantern festival is the dragon dance. The dragon—which might stretch a hundred feet long—is typically made of silk, paper, and bamboo. Traditionally the dragon is held aloft by young men who dance as they guide the colorful beast through the streets. In the United States, where the New Year is celebrated with a shortened schedule, the dragon dance always takes place on a weekend. In addition, many Chinese-American communities have added American parade elements such as marching bands and floats.

We heard in church a couple weeks ago that the Chinese labor force is the fastest growing segment of the expat labor force in Kuwait, did you know that? The come in, they focus, they work hard, they produce what they have promised and then – they go back to China. They bid competitively on the contracts, they speak English fairly well, and they get the job done, with none of this human rights baggage that many of the Western countries carry around. Nope. No problem, says the Chinese embassy.

January 17, 2009 Posted by | Community, Cultural, Eating Out, Events, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Friends & Friendship, Holiday, Interconnected, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Relationships, Social Issues | , | 2 Comments

Kung hei fat choi/恭喜發財

Congratulations on the New Year and be prosperous!

Chinese New Years is when people travel for days to be with their family for this lunar celebration. There are special foods, special greetings and different activities scheduled for the different days. The Chinese New Year starts today, and the new year is The Year of the Rat.

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Those born in The Year of the Rat from Wikipedia:

Being the first sign of the Chinese zodiacs, rats are leaders, pioneers and conquerors. They are charming, passionate, charismatic, practical and hardworking. Rat people are endowed with great leadership skills and are the most highly organized, meticulous, and systematic of the twelve signs. Intelligent and cunning at the same time, rats are highly ambitious and strong-willed people who are keen and unapologetic promoters of their own agendas, which often include money and power. They are energetic and versatile and can usually find their way around obstacles, and adapt to various environments easily. A rat’s natural charm and sharp demeanor make it an appealing friend for almost anyone, but rats are usually highly exclusive and selective when choosing friends and so often have only a few very close friends whom they trust.

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Behind the smiles and charm, rats can be terribly obstinate and controlling, insisting on having things their way no matter what the cost. These people tend to have immense control of their emotions, which they may use as a tool to manipulate and exploit others, both emotionally and mentally. Rats are masters of mind games and can be very dangerous, calculative and downright cruel if the need arises. Quick-tempered and aggressive, they will not think twice about exacting revenge on those that hurt them in any way. Rats need to learn to relax sometimes, as they can be quite obsessed with detail, intolerant and strict, demanding order, obedience, and perfection.

Rats consider others before themselves, at least sometimes, and avoid forcing their ideas onto others. Rats are fair in their dealings and expect the same from others in return, and can be deeply affronted if they feel they have been deceived or that their trust has been abused. Sometimes they set their targets too high, whether in relation to their friends or in their career. But as the years pass, they will become more idealistic and tolerant. If they can develop their sense of self and realize it leaves room for others in their life as well, Rats can find true happiness.

According to tradition, Rats often carry heavy karma and at some point in life may face an identity crisis or some kind of feeling of guilt. Rats are said to often have to work very long and hard for everything they may earn or have in life. However, a Rat born during the day is said to have things a bit easier than those who are born at night. Traditionally, Rats born during the night may face extreme hardships and suffering throughout life. Rats in general should guard themselves against hedonism, as it may lead to self-destruction. Gambling, alcohol and drugs tend to be great temptations to Rat natives.

Traditionally, Rats should avoid Horses, but they can usually find their best friends and love interests in Monkeys, Dragons, and Oxen.

Professions include espionage, psychiatry, psychology, writing, politics, law, engineering, accounting, detective work, acting, and pathology.
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One of the best part of Chinese New Years – if you are a young person – is the RED Envelopes, full of money. One of the worst parts of Chinese New Years if you are a grown up is passing out all the RED envelopes, full of money (groan!)

February 7, 2008 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Holiday, Social Issues | | 8 Comments